Cebolla Canyon, NM – 2009

Catherine Harris is an Artist, Landscape Architect, and Professor of Art and Ecology, University of New Mexico, Department of Art and Art History. Harris demonstrated measuring space through comparative body/landscape studies such as stride patterning, using the lower leg as a transit level, and line of sight spatial marking. The Land Arts students were then invited to developed the project, Transect Collaborative, which involved walking a transect line across Lobo Canyon, documenting it via drawings, photographs, and video; then developing a gallery installation.

Catherine Harris at Lobo canyon


Cedra Wood
October 03, 2009

Catherine Harris arrived this morning, with her husband, kids, and dog, and a little later than expected, and we got right to work. She showed us various historical maps of the area we’re occupying, and talked about the evolution of units/methods of measurement. She staked out a distance of a hundred feet and we all walked it a few times, counting our steps carefully so that later we could all use our own stride as a measuring stick. Trying my best to approximate my normal hiking stride. I got 48 steps = 100 feet with reassuring regularity.

The collaborative goal for the day was to lay out a transect between two of the mesas not far from our camp, starting roughly halfway in between them, near the valley’s deep arroyo. We split up into two groups–in mine was Bill, Leif, Joaquin, Zach M., Julia, Tammy, Lauren, and myself–and went our respective directions on an East/West line. The idea was for each of us to measure a 500-foot increment of the transect, paying attention to (and sketching) the rise over run of our section, and stopping as we reached the end of our leg, so the group got smaller and smaller the further we went…

Confluence of Cebolla and Lobo Canyons

Student walking transect on the ridge

Student drawing her section of the transect after completing the walk

Transect Collaborative, installation with video component, John Sommers Gallery

Transect Project – 2009 from Land Arts of the American West, on Vimeo.

Transect Collaborative video from installation, John Sommers Gallery